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  • Strikes and Protests 2007/8 - Teachers and Lecturers

  • Police pick up trade unionist Majongwe
    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
    February 06, 2007

    In yet another sign of great disregard for the people’s right to freedom of expression, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) picked up Mr. Raymond Majongwe, the Progressive Teacher’s Union Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general, yesterday at 5am. The police were leveling flimsy accusations on why the union was proceeding with the industrial action, which is aimed at forcing the state to accord teachers decent salaries and leaving conditions. Majongwe remained adamant that the strike will go ahead till the government gives in to their demands.

    It is clear that the government is aimed at thwarting all efforts by those in the civil service to seek better standards of living by all means necessary and this means detaining their leaders and spreading malicious rumors. It is deplorable that the government is fast resorting to colonial strategies of intimidating democratic forces through extra-legal mechanisms. Responding to some reports that the strike was a political action, Majongwe highlighted that such statements are only meant to tarnish the image of the teachers union and discourage some members from participating in the industrial action. He went on to indicate that " the strike is a struggle to lift the standard of life from a biological level to which it has sunken, to social and economic levels…". Majongwe went on to salute teachers who took part in the three-day go-slow and encouraged more teachers to participate in the staffroom sit-ins saying that the strike is in their interest.

    The PTUZ has gone further to state the conditions that they want met by the government and Ministry of Education. Chief among them being a minimum basic salary of $540 000 for the first quarter of 2007 and that the Public service Commission exempt teachers’ children from paying school fees as a benefit similar to that offered to War Veterans.

    Meanwhile, an estimated 120 students were arrested in the City of Bulawayo as they were demonstrating against the exorbitant fee structures which are being charged by state institutions nation wide. This comes barely two days after the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) gave the government an ultimatum of two weeks ending on 13 February 2006 to address their plight or else they embark on national boycotts and protests.

    We advise the regime to start taking the demands of labour, students, civil society and the generality of the populace lest the nation face disintegration. Virtually all civil servants are embarking on industrial action which was ignited by the junior Doctors and spread like a veld fire as nurses, teachers, support staff and administrative works in most of the state institutions. The government must address their plight, they deserve fair remuneration.

    Visit the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition fact sheet

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